Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's wrong with the Raptors?

The Raptors have had a terribly bad stretch of games recently. A heartbreaking loss to the Nets and then a blowout against the Celtics. They currently sit 1 game under .500 and EVERYONE is calling for Sam Mitchell's head.

I wanted to take a second and step away from all of this and see if that really makes sense.

Tonight's game is what I call a "trap game". They have a beatable opponent in the Bobcats and they are playing at home. This usually ends up with a win......BUT....should they lose well then all hell will break loose.

Should they NOT win tonight the Raptors will be 2 games under .500 with a really tough Sked ahead and ZERO momentum. They have a home game against Atlanta and then they have to head west to face The Lakers, Denver, Utah, an upstart Blazers team before heading home to play the Cavs....YIKES!. You could be looking at a team that is 5-8 games under .500 after that stretch. And if Jose or JO remain injured...well that's a whole other story.

So what do they do to fix this?

How about they get some F'ing talent in here? This is not Mitchell's fault. He's getting the best out of the guys he has. Bosh, Bargs and Jose are having monster years. O'neil is giving them exactly what he was brought here to do (before the injury). The problem is that they have a D-league team as backups. Colangelo gambled by spending very little on the bench and hoping the starters would give them enough to win games. He gambled that the bench would only have to hold its own for 10-12 min a night. WRONG!

You cannot win in this league unless you have a bench...period. I'm sorry but Hassan Adams, Kris Humphries,Jamario moon, Will Solomon and Roko Ukic are not going to get it done...they just aren't and you can't pin that on Smitch. When your best 4 players are playing amazing basketball and you cannot protect a lead at home or on the road you have to look at why...and the reason is NOT the coach.

I understand the frustration from Raptors fans regarding Mitchell. He isn't the best X's and O's Coach in the league. He probably isn't in the top 20 regarding X's and O's in the league but there is more to coaching than drawing up plays. The other side of that coin is that the players are not executing the plays. A perfect example of this was AP heading to the post early against Boston to help JO double KG. The game plan was to have JO play KG one on one...AP doesn't listen and leaves Ray Allen open twice for open looks. This isn't Mitchell's fault...he had a game plan and the players didn't execute.

What Smitch does have is the respect of his players. Enough cannot be said about a coach that has the ear of his players.

For me the blame lies on Colangelo. He put all his eggs in one basket (JO's 21 million dollar basket) and hoped that would do it. There are far too many things that have to go right when a team only has 4 good players (sorry Kapono you're a specialist not a good player and AP your best days are behind you).

I am certain that Colangelo isn't just sitting on his hands and watching this madness ensue. I am sure he's on the phone trying to make deals but the 2 biggest holes, SG/SF and backup PG can't be fixed through trades with the crap the raptors have to deal.

I say let Mitchell finish the season. If this team doesn't turn it around then a change can be made. MLSE isn't likely to eat his salary for this season and the rest of the contract (about 8million after this year) anyway. Although if they're 8 games under .500 then we all know that the first person to go is the coach and I think BC and MLSE will change their tune at that point just to calm the waters.

That being said I honestly don't think a new coach is going to get anymore out of these guys than Smitch is and until the talent is upgraded then I think we all have to be happy with a .500 team.

I'm not giving up on these guys but I was never sold on this JO will fix everything plan and remain sceptical.


Vik said...

Braps...good first write-up Steebo!

Popsicle said...

Nice write up Steebo... I totally agree. The only thing i have to say is that even though Kapono is a specialist.. I think they can run more plays for him to free him up cause thats the only way he's gonna be effective.

Great job on the blog boyz!! Add to favourites! :)